Commentary

No ban on single-use plastics in new Australian legislation

Tuesday, Dec 08, 2020

The oceans and marine life are the biggest losers after the Federal Government’s Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill 2020 passed un-amended by the Senate yesterday. 

 

- Commentary by National Marine Debris Campaigner, Marina Hansen

Sea Shepherd, along with many groups, businesses and individuals, were disappointed that the Bill didn’t address the scourge of single-use plastics or mandate any packaging targets.

Many other countries around the world, including small and big nations and the European Union, have already introduced national legislation. It is a sad day that Australia is not one of them, despite ever-increasing scientific research about the damage that plastic and trash is having on coastlines, oceans and to marine life.

There is no doubt plastic pollution is a global problem and Australia needs to play its part and take responsibility along with the producers of plastic put on notice that they must change. 

"The problem of plastic pollution on our beaches and in our oceans is not getting better, it is getting much, much worse.”

- Marina Hansen, Sea Shepherd’s National Marine Debris Campaigner
Single-use plastic bottles found during a remote beach clean-up in Arnhem Land.

We were hoping that the wishes of the Australian people would motivate the Members of Parliament to vote for protecting the oceans and marine life and support coastal communities whose livelihoods are linked to the state of the environment but sadly it was not the case yesterday.

Over the past month, Sea Shepherd has been asking supporters to contact their local Senators who had the power to be regional leaders on addressing plastic pollution and their increasing impacts to wildlife. From all of us at Sea Shepherd to everyone who took the time to contact their Senators, we thank you for standing up the oceans.

To quote Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." 

A volunteer from Sea Shepherd's Marine Debris Campaigns holds single-use items collected during a clean-up at the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

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Volunteers from Sea Shepherd Australia's Marine Debris Campaign are currently on a remote clean-up campaign in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands where they have already removed 3.5 tonnes of nets and rope from the atoll's South Island. 

Read more about the clean-up on our dedicated Marine Debris Campaign Facebook page

 

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